Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Xavier Musketeers Picks, Predictions, Odds

Nov. 18, 2021
Dan Dobish
VI Betting Expert

The Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0) and Xavier Musketeers (2-0) square off Thursday night at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET, and the game can be viewed on FOX Sports 1.

Score Prediction

Ohio State 71, Xavier 66

Best Bets

Ohio State -125 ML

Under 141.5 (-110)

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Xavier Musketeers Predictions

The Buckeyes head down Interstate 71 to battle the Musketeers in Cincinnati. Both teams are unbeaten, but neither team has been particularly dominant. There are still plenty of issues to rectify before the season gets to the conference portion of the schedule.

Ohio State barely squeaked by Akron in the opener Nov. 9, needing a last-second tip-in to sneak by the Zips 67-66. That was the only UNDER result for the Buckeyes to date. Ohio State bounced back somewhat, topping Niagara of the MAAC by an 84-74 score, although they again failed to cover the number. They finally looked like the ranked team they were expected to be in the preseason, soundly beating Bowling Green, another Mid-American Conference club, by an 89-58 count for the first cover of the season. Big Ten Player of the Year candidate E.J. Liddell has been everything as advertised, going for 22.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 3.3 APG through the first three outings.

Xavier has won each of its first two games, but it has also endured some struggles. this team barely beat Niagara, too, easing by the Purple Eagles by a 63-60 score as 17-point favorites. The Musketeers were a little better, topping Kent State by a 73-59 score to cover, as the UNDER came in for the second consecutive game.

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Xavier Musketeers Betting Odds

  • Ohio State -125
  • Xavier +105
  • Ohio State -1.5 (-110)
  • Xavier +1.5 (-110)
  • Over 141.5 (-110)
  • Under 141.5 (-110)
  • More Odds | Futures Odds

    Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Xavier Musketeers Betting Resources

    • Matchup: Big 10 vs. Big East
    • Date: Thursday, November 18, 2021
    • Venue: Cintas Center
    • Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
    • TV-Time: FS1 - 6:30 p.m. ET

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    Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Analysis

    Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

    • SU: 3-0
    • ATS: 1-2
    • O/U: 2-1

    The Buckeyes have started out a little on the sluggish side, as they hit just 26-of-60 shots, or 43%, from the field in the opener against Akron. If you take out Liddell and Zed Key, who was 7-of-11, it was an even more dismal showing. Liddell and Key were the only two starters in double-digit points in the second game against the Purple Eagles, but the Buckeyes again came up empty in the cover column. That wasn't an issue against Bowling Green, as the Buckeyes finally lived up to expectations, hammering the Falcons like it was a football game.

    Ohio State's offense has been OK, but they are going to need to find a tertiary scoring option behind Liddell and Key if they hope to have a big season. This team is shooting 49.4% from the field, good for 54th in the nation, but there is still work to be done.

    At the defensive end of the floor, Ohio State has really had its struggles. The Buckeyes have allowed the opponent to hit 39.1% from the perimeter, which is ranked just 311th in the country. Ohio State has allowed 66.0 PPG, which is middle of the road in terms of Division I standards, with much work still to be done.

    Xavier Musketeers Betting Analysis

    Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

    • SU: 2-0
    • ATS: 1-1
    • O/U: 0-2

    The Musketeers were a horrible 38% from the field against the Purple Eagles in the opener, good for just 21-of-56 from the floor. It hit 8-for-27 (30%) from behind the 3-point line, but the most troubling stat was their 62% mark (13-for-21) from the charity stripe, while turning it over 13 times. You can chalk that up to opening game jitters. Of course, Xavier turned it over 16 times against Kent State in the second game, and the 3-point shooting was just 21%, or 6-for-29. They made some slight gains in overall field-goal percentage at 40%, but like Ohio State, this is anything but a finished product. And that's to be expected with a young roster in November. Come February into March, both of these teams will be much better products.

    Xavier's offense has been shabby, and that's not going to fly in a big step up in competition. The offense has hit just 68.0 PPG to rank 262nd overall, and they're knocking down just 25.0% from behind the 3-point line, good for 333rd in the nation during the early going. That number could change dramatically, as these stats fluctuate early with one bad or good game.

    Defensively, the Musketeers are holding the opponent to 37.4%, but that's against teams Xavier had a size advantage. They'll be the smallish team against the Buckeyes.

    Ohio State has won all three games to date, but it is just 1-2 ATS. (AP)

    Inside the Stats - Ohio State Buckeyes

    • Record: 3-0
    • VI Ranking: 16
    • PS/G: 80.0
    • PA/G: 66.0
    • ORtg: 34.7
    • DRtg: 29.0

    Inside the Stats - Xavier Musketeers

    • Record: 2-0
    • VI Ranking: 33
    • PS/G: 68.0
    • PA/G: 59.5
    • ORtg: 41.0
    • DRtg: 26.5

    Key Players to Watch

    • OHST: E.J. Liddell - F (22.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 2.0 BPG)
    • OHST: Zed Key - F (12.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.7 BPG)
    • XAV: Paul Scruggs - G (20.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.5 APG, 3.0 SPG)
    • XAV: Colby Jones - G (17.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.5 SPG, 2.0 SPG)

    Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Xavier Musketeers Betting Conclusion

    Neither team has given bettors a reason to run, not walk, to the betting window or app to throw good money down on them. Both teams have a stud, with Ohio State's Liddell and Xavier's Scruggs looking to put on a show in this intrastate battle. Both teams have a common opponent, beating poor old Niagara, but it was the Purple Eagles coming away with a pair of covers in the Buckeye State. These teams have had a sluggish start which sorta mirrors each other, so it is fitting they'll face each other in the 'Nati.

    If this game were in Columbus, I think the Buckeyes are starting to figure things out as the games go on, and it would have been a blowout. In Cincinnati, Xavier and Ohio State will likely play an extremely close game, with points at a premium. I think as the game goes on, Xavier is going to struggle with the size of Liddell and Key, with Ohio State starting to pull away. The struggles of Xavier at the free-throw line is also of chief concern to me. In a close game, missed free throws are obviously a killer.

    Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Xavier Musketeers Betting Trends

    • The Buckeyes have covered nine of the past 10 road games.
    • The Musketeers are 1-1 ATS this season, and 1-4 ATS in the past five overall.
    • The OVER is 8-2 in the past 10 road games for the Buckeyes.
    • The UNDER is 2-0 this season for the Musketeers, and 4-1-1 in the past six overall.